Caledonian Sleeper is now able to confirm that its new fleet of trains will be operating from all stations by the end of May 2019, in time for the peak Summer season. The launch of the Lowland service between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh, which we had hoped to be in the Autumn of 2018, has been put back to Spring 2019, with the Highland service to Fort William, Inverness and Aberdeen following shortly after.
So far, 40 of the 75 sleeper carriages ordered from our train manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) have arrived in the UK; the remaining 35 carriages are in the final build stage in Spain and will be delivered in the coming weeks. However, this is the first introduction of new sleeper rolling stock in the UK for over 35 years, the process of testing and gaining the necessary regulatory and operating approvals is time-consuming and complex and there is still work to be done before the new carriages can be brought into service.
Ryan Flaherty, Serco’s Managing Director at Caledonian Sleeper, said:
“Our new trains will mark a magical new chapter in rail travel in the UK. The new sleeper carriages are absolutely superb, and will transform the experience of travelling by train between Scotland and England. We are sorry that we will not be able to launch the service this Autumn, and understand that customers who wanted to travel on them in 2018 will be disappointed. But with five different accommodation types, as well as on board catering, dining and shower facilities, this is the most complex introduction of new rolling stock ever undertaken in the UK, and we are determined to get it right.”
Guests who have already booked on a Lowland service on or after October 28 will be offered a full refund or opportunity to rebook if they no longer wish to travel. For those who still wish to travel and had booked one of our new accommodation options, Caledonian Sleeper will refund the difference in cost.
Since Serco took over the Caledonian Sleeper service in 2015, the number of people travelling on it has increased by over 20%, making it one of the fastest-growing services in the UK. The introduction of new trains will be the culmination of a wide range of improvements and investment in Caledonian Sleeper since Serco took over the franchise on behalf of the Scottish Government in April 2015. These have included opening a new Guest Services Centre in Inverness; a new booking website allowing guests to book up to 12 months in advance and the ability to book pets and bikes; new bedding with more comfortable pillows and duvets; new customer sleep packs; upgraded dining options with seasonal local produce menu; procurement that focusses on Scottish food and drink sourced from local suppliers; new smart branding with new uniforms; on board events and an award-winning on-board magazine.
To find out more about the Caledonian Sleeper, visit sleeper.scot.